In case you’ve been living in a cave lately or some remote part of South Dakota (i.e., anywhere in South Dakota), you’ve probably heard that Pittsburgh has been chosen to host the next G-20 Summit, September 24-25. This is a BIG deal for our region. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to really shine and show the rest of the world what a vibrant, cultural, livable city this is.
Just think, in only a few short months representatives from 19 countries will be descending upon our fair city to discuss the future of the global economy. Whatever they decide, it’s sure to be the biggest news story that week. Fortunately the planners had the foresight not to plan the meeting during a Steelers game; otherwise, the summit would have gotten second billing in the Monday papers.
Today Robert Morris University got to play a part in the planning (unintentional alliteration) of the G-20 Summit when it hosted one of three “Welcome the World” brainstorming sessions, aimed at gathering ideas from the public on the best ways to welcome the G-20 to Pittsburgh this September. Over 200 people packed into the Sewall Center’s International Suite (How apropos!), including various dignitaries like RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo; Bill Flanagan, executive V.P. of corporate relations for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and host of “Our Region's Business” on WPXI-TV; Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato; Jon Delano, political analyst for KDKA-TV; and some other guy with a purple sport coat and blue-plaid slacks who was passing out a manifesto that he wrote at 3 o’clock this morning (sorry, didn’t get his name).
As I sat an listened to person after person approach the microphone, each with a unique idea of how to best promote the city in the months leading up to the event, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if the G-20 Summit was being held on the RMU campus. Here’s how I think the event would go:
• After the morning session, Paul Spradley, assistant director of Student Life for Multicultural Affairs, would take all the leaders to Primanti’s over on University Boulevard for a Kolbassi & Cheese and an ice-cold Iron.
• During the afternoon break, everyone would go for a walk in the Magical Forest and then stop at the Rudolph Family Garden for some peaceful meditation. Meanwhile, Dr. Dell’Omo would invite President Barack Obama back to his office to show him that cool trick with the fly.
• After dinner in the Food Court, the delegates would gather down in the Jefferson Center Recreational Center for a spirited table tennis tournament, with the losers paying off the winning country’s national debt.
• International controversy would break out in the university’s newly renovated dorms as the various leaders squabbled over who gets the top bunk.
• Over the course of the two days, G-20 security would be keeping a close eye on the big smiley guy called RoMo.
At least that's how I think it would go.
On second thought, maybe it's better that they're having it downtown. That table tennis tournament could get pretty heated.
--Valentine J. Brkich